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1:32 Fi 103 Reichenberg Re 4a and Kugisho OHKA Model 11

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1:32 Fi 103 Reichenberg Re 4a 

and Kugisho OHKA Model 11
Catalogue # HPH32033R
Available from HPH for €115





The subject(s):

An unexpected release by HPH for sure. I for one didn’t see these coming. The Reichenberg has been released by Bronco some years ago. Both in 1 seater version as in the two seat trainer version. But! In scale 1/35. This is great when you’re an armour modeler that wants to incorporate the Reichenberg in a diorama, but not when you’re displaying it amongst other 1/32 aviation subjects. Having built this kit I can say it lacks some detail. Most apparent simplifications are the engine and cockpit. The Ohka on the other hand has not been produced in Injection Moulded version, but is available in resin by two brands. One by OzMolds and one by Lone Star Models. So… were these new HPH releases „needed’’? Yes, and trust me… they are in a whole different league. Here we go!




History of the Reichenberg:

With the hit and miss successes of the unmanned V1 the need to strike the allies in the heart was getting more and more apparent. While Hitler kept his hopes on the 3 x 1000 bomber project (a bomber that could basically bomb New York), some forces in the Luftwaffe placed their bets on Selbstopfer (suicide) concepts. The Me328 was offered as first candidate for this purpose. Famous Luftwaffe testpilot Hanna Reitsch was one of the leading authorities within this concept. As a matter of fact she was the one trying to sell the concept to Hitler. He however quickly dismissed the idea of german pilots plummeting to their deaths by calling it un-german. He stressed his firm belief in the 3 x 1000 bomber. Perhaps when the concept wasn’t named Selbstopfer, Hitler might have approved. After all, the pilot of these planes were never meant to stay in the cockpit until detonation. They were supposed to bail out after lining the plane up with the target. 


The project was however able to proceed under strict order by Hitler to not be deployed after his very own instruction to do so. He approved a special suicide unit to be formed under the name: Leonidas unit. Named after kind Leonidas who stood his ground against the Persians. How appropriate! This unit became part of unit II/KG200. A unit that was known for flying secret missions. Jamming radars. And dropping spies in enemy territory.


A couple of factories produced the Reichenberg. Including one factory that was based inside a mountain, keeping it safe from allied bomb-runs. There’s even a movie (cinematic) on Youtube showing Hanna Reitsch taking the Reichenberg for a ‚test-drive’. 



In august 1944 the first Reichenberg Re-1 was ready for testing. It had no engine and was purely tested in gliding mode. These test proved successful. Reason for Hanna Reitsch to come over and watch some rocket powered tests with here own eyes. On this occasion the Reichenberg lost control and crashed. Another two tests resulted in crashes too. This didn’t stop the Germans from building 200 examples and erecting a squadron with 50 pilots undergoing instruction and training. Hanna Reitsch personally took partial responsibility for the training. Until the was injured during a bombing raid. Numerous ideas were exploited and research for possibilities with a manned V1. An armed interception version. A version with a 38cm grenade in the nose to penetrate a Ship deck. At the end of the war American soldiers stumbled on a factory with no less than 54 single seated Reichenbergs, a couple of two seat trainers and 700 unmanned V1’s…

The last test flight of the Reichenberg took place on the 5th of March 1945 with a Re-3. After several fairly successful powered flights, this flight ended with the wings breaking from the plane, taking the pilot into a 90 degree dive into a lake. It proved very difficult for a pilot the exit the extremely fast flying projectile, and even if he managed, there was the risk of ending in the ram air intake of the engine. About 12 Reichenbergs were captured and saved from the scrapyard. A couple of them are on display today and some in storage. 


Here is a list of the ones’ on display:

Flying Heritage Collection, Everett, Washington

Canadian War Museum, (under restoration 2009).

Lashenden Air Warfare Museum, Headcorn, Kent

La Coupole, Saint-Omer, France.

Stinson Air Field, San Antonio, Tx, USA.


It’s a misconception that existing V1’s were altered to manned Reichenbergs. About only 20% of the parts are the same as on the unmanned V1. In other words: Check your references based on manned V1’s :)




History of the Ohka:

Unlike the germans the japanese had a little bit less trouble with sacrificing life in order to protect their country. The word ‚Ohka’ meaning Cherry Blossom and ‚Kamikaze’ meaning Godly Wind shows they even romanticized the act. An honorly dead. The pilots of these planes were called Jinrai Butai, or Thunder God Corps. The americans dubbed this plane ‚Baka’, which means ‚Fool’ in japanese. Quite a different approach to the concept.

The Ohka was meant to be carried the distance by a large bomber (like the Betty) and to be deployed when the target was in reach. Quite like the way the German Me328 was to be deployed by a He111. When the target was in reach the pilot would fire the three solid fuel rockets and…. aim.


Unlike the German efforts made in testing and getting this plane in action, the japanese managed to inflict some serious damage to american ships. And this is exactly what this plane was designed for. Anti ship warfare. The USS Mannert L. Abele was the first Allied ship to be sunk by Ohka aircraft, near Okinawa on 12 April 1945. In the end three american ships were sunk and three badly damaged… The fact that the americans quickly realized a protective rind of defensive fire was the answer to these attacks and protect their carriers is reason the Ohka attacks had little or no real significance. 


The only operational model was the model 11. The model that is featured in this kit. 

In total 852 Ohka’s were built and like the Reichenberg roughly 12 examples survived. They are on display in the United States, UK, Japan and one in India, New Delhi.


An interesting video of the capture of an Ohka can be seen here:




In february 2014 the Fleet Air Arm Museum in the UK announced they will start restoration on their Ohka which has been hanging from their ceiling for 30 years. During this restoration the original paint and technical stenciling have been found under a thick layer of paint. The restoration is estimated to take over a year. 

A list of all the surviving examples can be seen here:





A comparison between the two:


Reichenberg: 8 meters Ohka: 6,06 meters


Reichenberg: 5,72 meters Ohka: 5,12 meters


Reichenberg: 2250 kg Ohka: 1200 kg


Reichenberg: 650 km/h (level) 800 km/h (dive) Ohka: 650km/h (level) 804 km/h (dive)


Reichenberg: 330 km Ohka: 37 km


As you can see the two had quite similar performance, except for the range. The Ohka being a parasite type (leeching on the wing of a large bomber until within reach of the target) it did not need a large range.


What’s in the box?:

When you open the box the first thing I noticed is how tightly packed all the resin is. Well wrapped in plastic and air cushions and the resin divided by compartments. Transparant resin for the canopies. Traditional yellow resin for all the parts. HGW seat belts. (Coloured) photo etch. Metal nozzles / exhaust pipes. A CD rom containing the instructions. Canopy masks and decals. Very complete. All you need.






The fuselage halves are hand coded with a number. A sign this is indeed a limited offering and kind of gives you the feeling you’ve got something special in your hands.


The decals are minimal. Only a small piece of decal paper contain all the decals needed for both planes. The Reichenberg did not usually carry any unit markings and the Ohka only had minimal markings. A cherry blossom (after it’s name) and some stenciling.


The HGW seat belts are of their late type. This means they are pre-cut and very detailed. 


Last but nog least, the kit contains the by now famous cookie HPH includes in all of their boxes. I guess that is to sweeten the deal.


The instructions come on a CD-Rom in pdf format. Unlike the Me410 instructions with photographs of the parts during construction, these are drawn. In my opinion this makes for clearer instructions than photographs. 








Metal exhaust tubes and brass pitot tube.




The famous HPH cookie!




A small decal sheet.




HGW seatbelts.



Example page of the instructions.



The Reichenberg kit:

First of all. Let’s place the HPH 1/32 fuselage alongside the 1/35 Bronco model. The size difference is huge… Apparently the difference between 1/32 and 1/35 is not something to underestimate. Two full length fuselage halves make up the hull. Minimal cleanup here. The crispness of the surface detail is great and will have to be carefully re-sribed after glueing the fuselage halves and sanding away the seam. I reckon this will be the most tricky part of this build. The cockpit of the Reichenberg is a spartan one. A seat, simple instrument panel, basic control stock and limited sidewall details. Checking my reference every detail that needs to be there is there, down to the rivet. Even the exposed sidewall wiring is included in photo etch. The coloured Photo etch instrument panel and the HGW seat belts top it all of. 

I was not able to find colour indications for painting the cockpit in the instructions. My reference shows the cockpit (and inside of the engine) to be brown / red primer coloured. This goes for the sidewalls and floor. The seat, mid console and instrument panel was mid grey.

The other feature that really pleases me is the Ram air intake of the engine. The louvres in the rear of the engine and the honeycomb with fuel injection frame are all included. All of these details are not included in the Bronco kit. The rest of the construction is pretty much straight forward after having tackled the cockpit and engine. 

All the control surfaces are separate and have delicate photo etch hinges. Control rods are featured too. Again: all of these features are not present on the Bronco kit. I keep repeating the differences between the much cheaper 1/35 Bronco kit, in case you think: I’ll pay less and settle for less. This way you know exactly how much less, less is :)

When looking at the way the resin is casted, I predict cleaning the parts will not prove a big challenge. The fuselage, wings and cockpit part are cleverly casted with as little as possible sanding needed in the most visible areas. The rear of the engine is made from a provided metal tube. I think this part would have been near impossible to make from resin. 


A feature i love in this resin kit are the locating rods you get for joining the two fuselage halves. Not often seen on resin kits, but very helpful to say the least.










Cockpit left sidewall.





A great source of reference for the Reichenberg is the magazine: FliegerRevue X (issue 40). It features a 30 page special on the subject, dealing with it’s background, design history and an extensive walk around of a couple of restored examples from Alexander Kuncze. He is known to be an authority on this subject. Actually this magazine is a must have when building this kit.




Forward engine part.




Main wing.




A comparison between the Reichenberg and Ohka wings.




Control surfaces.


The only downside I can think of with this kit is the single available scheme that is provided. On the other hand, the decals provided of the stenciling can be combined with other colour schemes as well. The Reichenberg usually had no unit markings or swastika. 




The Ohka kit:

As said, two resin offerings have been around for some time, one done by Lone Star models and one by OzMolds. I’ve followed a couple of these builds on forums and decided I’d wait for something better (or less challenging) to come around. To give you an idea: Here’s a link to a review of the OzMolds resin kit:










Inside detail of the tail end. 


Like the Reichenberg the Ohka comes with HGW seat belts, metal exhausts, coloured PE and a great transparant resin canopy complete with masking. The only thing you’ll need to add to this plane is some lead / weights for the nose when placed on the trolley to prevent it from tipping on it’s tail. 


The instrument panel is made up in the same way as the one in the Reichenberg. This time in thicker resin to give it some more needed thickness in detail in combination with a colored photo etch backing. Add a few small drops of Micro Clear and you’ve got yourself one stunning instrument panel. 




Left cockpit side wall detail.




Cockpit floor, seat, ip, nose cone and locating pins.




Bulkheads and mixed Reichenberg / Ohka parts.


The Ohka needs a bit more careful clean up than the Reichenberg. The bulkheads and cockpit floor are moulded flat to their casting block. Easy to remove with a micro saw though. The trolley cart (as with the Reichenberg trolley) is also casted in this way. No problem, just a bit more time consuming to clean up. 


The smaller details that make up the control rods, cockpit hinges, ‚bomb’ sight, etc.. is just amazing. You even get the parts needed for the control linkage arms that can be seen when looking in the rear end!


Checking all the details that need to be inside and outside the Ohka, I can only conclude that again HPH have really done their homework. Same as with the Reichenberg I found no colour coding for the cockpit in the instructions. There is a nice walk around to be found here:




that shows the interior being green. Since this cockpit is missing the instrument panel, it’s hard to say to what extend it is completely authentic.

There is also a walk around with the Ohka in orange colours which appears to have a light grey cockpit:




The trolley is a little different than the one under the Reichenberg. Again: careful cleaning of these parts is needed due to the way they are casted to their blocks. It’s a three wheeled short trolley that holds the Ohka in place with a belt. This is where I guess the needed added nose weight comes in play. If you don’t add this, the whole assembly will pivot on the two main wheels and become a tail sitter. 






Tail section and control surfaces.



The trolleys:











Overall I’m blown away (no pun intended) by the detail provided. When I built the Bronco Reichenberg I added a lot of cockpit and surface detail myself. This kit takes a few steps more and adds detail that I didn’t even spot before when going through my references. Both the Reichenberg and the Ohka are subjects that make you think about what humans are capable of. Both in technical sense as in in-humane sense. They were not desperately rushed in production, but tested, fine tuned and planned. A proper representation of the Reichenberg was pretty high on my list, and suddenly here it is, with an Ohka in it’s wake. I’ve started work on the Reichenberg and research on the subject. So far I haven’t been able to find anything to complain about. Except maybe for the fact that both planes only come with one marking option. But, as said, this is not a problem, since both almost only carried stenciling. 


Very highly recommended


Our sincere thanks to HPH for this review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link. Please let these guys know where you saw this review.

And my personal thanks to James Hatch for the superb photo's :)


Jeroen Peters


PS. Photographs of the photo etch will follow shortly as they are en route to  LSM.

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Great review, HPH are fast becoming the best resin kit maker out there. There's an Ohka in the Manchester science museum near me, I got told in my youth the holes In the seat were incase the pilot fouled himself!!


I'd love a V1 from them also to go with the HK Meteor when Fisher release a F.3 conversion

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Love it! I obviously saw this kit at first hand, but it's good to get another opinion on it too, and be able to learn something too.  I'll publish to SP&R this week too.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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As promised! Here are photographs of the two photo-etch frets.

Both made by Eduard. One pre coloured one and one in bare brass.

Some really nice detail there. The way the kits are made up you can tell HPH is not planning on selling these kits separately.













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